It is currently Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:57 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 400 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ... 27  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:09 pm 
Offline
Newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:06 pm
Posts: 1
On the front cover of The Jesus Mysteries: Was The "Origional Jesus" A Pagan God is a picture of a tessera depicting a cricified being that says Osiris-Bakkas? (its in latin? Acharya, what does it really say?) which purportedly dates from the 1st century BCE.


Acharya wrote:
Thank you for your comments and interest in this subject, cythara and GA.

Earliest Imagery of Jesus

Despite almost 2,000 years of searching, there are no extant first-century images or artifacts of any sort from Christianity. There is an odd artifact from Caesarea that supposedly names Pontius Pilate (note the misshapened "I" and "T" in this inscription, which look like they were added later), but nothing specific to Christianity to indicate that anyone had even heard of it during the first century. It is only at the very end of the first and into the early second century that we begin to see whispers of Christianity's existence in any form. Yet, the earliest extant texts call the figures involved in this movement "Chrest" and "Chrestians," not "Christ" and "Christians." Surprisingly, the word "Christian" doesn't appear in the historical record as we have it until the middle of the fourth century, at the earliest.

As concerns imagery of Jesus Christ in particular - or, rather, Jesus the Chrest - the earliest portrayal dates from the third century. From Wikipedia's "Depiction of Jesus":

Quote:
The depiction of Jesus in art took several centuries to reach a conventional standardized form for his physical appearance, which has subsequently remained largely stable since that time. Most images of Jesus have in common a number of traits which are now almost universally associated with Jesus, although variants are seen.

The image of a fully bearded Jesus with long hair did not become established until the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, and much later in the West. Earlier images were much more varied. Images of Jesus tend to show ethnic characteristics similar to those of the culture in which the image has been created....

The earliest surviving Christian art comes from the late 2nd to early 4th centuries on the walls of tombs belonging, most likely, to wealthy Christians in the catacombs of Rome, although from literary evidence there may well have been panel icons which, like almost all classical painting, have disappeared.

Initially Jesus was represented indirectly by pictogram symbols such as the Ichthys (fish), the peacock, or an anchor (the Labarum or Chi-Rho was a later development). Later personified symbols were used, including Jonah, whose three days in the belly of the whale pre-figured the interval between Christ's death and Resurrection; Daniel in the lion's den; or Orpheus charming the animals. The Tomb of the Julii has a famous but unique mosaic of Christ as Sol Invictus, a sun-god...

The oldest known portrait of Jesus, found in Syria and dated to about 235, shows him as a beardless young man of authoritative and dignified bearing. He is depicted dressed in the style of a young philosopher, with close-cropped hair and wearing a tunic and pallium – signs of good breeding in Greco-Roman society.

Image
"The Healing of the Paralytic," oldest known image of Jesus, from the Syrian city of Dura Europos (c. 235)

The fact that there is no standard depiction of Jesus and that his image morphs from era to era and place to place speaks of his mythical nature. This sort of development is classic to mythology, especially where gods/goddesses have been merged and changed over the centuries or millennia by having new attributes added to or emphasized in their characters.

The information concerning the establishment of synagogues in Alexandria by the third century but not in Palestine until the first century is important and relevant, in consideration of the fact that the Greek word "synagogue" appears in the Septuagint in a religious context. As we know, the Septuagint was translated at Alexandria, traditionally around 200 BCE, although some claim that evidence points to an ongoing effort possibly continuing into the first century AD/CE. Some of the Egyptian synagogues may have been under the direction of the Jewish patriarch purportedly mentioned by Hadrian in a letter discussing the Alexandrian Jews and Christians (likely "Chrestians") worshipping the hybrid god Serapis.

GodAlmighty wrote:
cythara wrote:
A further bizarre item. There are about 10 first century images of "Jesus' that have survived down to modern times. These are mostly mosaics and none of them show nail wounds in the extremities or a crucifixion. They all show Jesus as beardless and Roman even when posed among Jews.

I'm going to have to press for a reference on that, because all I've ever heard is that the earliest Christian iconography dates at earliest to the Third Century, not the First. And even the ambiguous items like the Alexander Graffito is third century as well. I've heard of some magical stone gems depicting guys crucified on them that are supposed to be pretty early. I forget which century they date to, but all the ones I've ever been shown are ambiguous, no reference to Jesus or Christ or Messiah or whatever else.

_________________
I would be way more productive if I could just sit in a cave all day.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:15 am 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:45 am
Posts: 554
quinoa wrote:
On the front cover of The Jesus Mysteries: Was The "Origional Jesus" A Pagan God is a picture of a tessera depicting a cricified being that says Osiris-Bakkas? (its in latin? Acharya, what does it really say?) which purportedly dates from the 1st century BCE.


Good book. That was what started me on my path to deconversion and ultimately led me to Acharya's work. The amulet is inscribed with Orpheus-Bacchus, not Osiris. The Orpheus cult was quite syncretic with other myths and so integrated things from the Dionysus(Bacchus being his Latin name) cult as well, and in at least one tradition Orpheus was credited as having been the founder of the religion to Dionysus. Freke and Gandy translate the inscription to mean "Orpheus becomes Bacchus", meaning that, as in many mystery cults of the time, the initiates emulated the story of their god so that they might become identified with him or her and thus partake in that god's power and/or estate, etc. So in this case, Orpheus is being crucified like Dionysus so that he might become like Dionysus. Very similar to how Paul wrote in the New Testament about being "crucified with Christ".

However, even Freke and Gandy date the amulet to the THIRD century CE, not 1st century BCE.

Also, do be aware that xians almost unanimously accuse the amulet of being a forgery from the medieval period, but the reasoning is flawed, which I am willing to discuss in PM if you wish.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:21 am 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:45 am
Posts: 554
Acharya wrote:
As concerns imagery of Jesus Christ in particular - or, rather, Jesus the Chrest - the earliest portrayal dates from the third century. From Wikipedia's "Depiction of Jesus":


The oldest known portrait of Jesus, found in Syria and dated to about 235, shows him as a beardless young man of authoritative and dignified bearing. He is depicted dressed in the style of a young philosopher, with close-cropped hair and wearing a tunic and pallium – signs of good breeding in Greco-Roman society.
Image
"The Healing of the Paralytic," oldest known image of Jesus, from the Syrian city of Dura Europos (c. 235)


Ah, that's what I figured. Thanks!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:43 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:41 pm
Posts: 819
Acharya wrote:
Hadrian in a letter discussing the Alexandrian Jews and Christians (likely "Chrestians") worshipping the hybrid god Serapis.


Here is a commentary I recently saw on this claim: "The "letter" is part of a late 4th century fiction, "Augustan History," now widely regard as fictitious, and containing so many 4th century anachronisms that it can be accurately dated to 395 CE plus or minus 5 years. The letter itself is full of anachronisms. Hadrian was only in Egypt in 130 CE, and the letter mentions his adopted son Lucius Aelius, who Hadrian did not adopt until 136. Hadrian also salutes his brother-in-law Servianus as consul, but Servianus did not serve as consul until 134 CE. The letter also mentions the Patriarch of Jewry within the Empire, a position that did not even exist until after Hadrian put down the Jewish Revolt in 132 CE. Its target is most likely the Patriarch Gamaliel VI, the last Nasi of the Sanhedrin who took office about 400 CE and was widely despised by the Romans. After his death, the position of Jewish Patriarch was eliminated by Roman decree. This larger text is known for its many fictitious "official documents" and "official letters." The letter from Hadrian is a poor forgery."


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:29 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm
Posts: 4722
Location: 3rd rock from the sun
Yep, they always do that with any evidence that would prove them wrong. Acharya does address those criticisms in both Christ Conspiracy and Christ in Egypt as well.

_________________
Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
2014 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:27 pm 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:17 pm
Posts: 2284
Location: Everywhere
Robert Tulip wrote:
Acharya wrote:
Hadrian in a letter discussing the Alexandrian Jews and Christians (likely "Chrestians") worshipping the hybrid god Serapis.


Here is a commentary I recently saw on this claim: "The "letter" is part of a late 4th century fiction, "Augustan History," now widely regard as fictitious, and containing so many 4th century anachronisms that it can be accurately dated to 395 CE plus or minus 5 years. The letter itself is full of anachronisms. Hadrian was only in Egypt in 130 CE, and the letter mentions his adopted son Lucius Aelius, who Hadrian did not adopt until 136. Hadrian also salutes his brother-in-law Servianus as consul, but Servianus did not serve as consul until 134 CE. The letter also mentions the Patriarch of Jewry within the Empire, a position that did not even exist until after Hadrian put down the Jewish Revolt in 132 CE. Its target is most likely the Patriarch Gamaliel VI, the last Nasi of the Sanhedrin who took office about 400 CE and was widely despised by the Romans. After his death, the position of Jewish Patriarch was eliminated by Roman decree. This larger text is known for its many fictitious "official documents" and "official letters." The letter from Hadrian is a poor forgery."

Robert, what is so striking about this response is that when it comes to something like the dating of the NT there's endless special pleading for early dates. Suddenly, in a complete reversal of methodology, it appears that a Christian suddenly became a critical thinker and started fighting for a late date for this Hadrian letter. Where in the world is such critical analysis when it's time to date the gospels? :lol:

That's actually hilarious when you think about it. Now let's apply these methods to Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John....

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:07 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2127
Yes, I am aware of the convenient dismissal of the Hadrian letter, which is why I included the word "purportedly." FTL is correct that I discussed this subject in Christ in Egypt. However, I did not address the specifics of the argument as below - I don't have the time to look into the details right now, but my first instinct is to ask why anyone would forge such a text during the fourth century? And who? A Christian? Trying to make it appear as if some of the earliest Christians were followers of Serapis? To what end? Serapis worship was on its last legs at that point - I find little reason why he would even be brought up, much less in such a scandalous manner, especially since at this precise time (c. 395) Bishop Theophilus and his gang of thugs were in the midst of destroying the last remnants of Egyptian religion and philosophy, including destroying the Serapeum.

If anyone can find an example of this purported forgery from the fourth century - what's the earliest extant text? I'd like to see it - does it say "Christian" or "Chrestian?"

Stephan Huller - is he a mythicist? - has some interesting musings on the subject that seem important to inspect:

Quote:
As I once asked earlier...what would it take for these people NOT TO PERPETUATE the inherited belief that Christianity was always about 'Jesus Christ'? What would it take for these people NOT TO PERPETUATE the inherited belief that the heresies were somehow inferior witnesses to 'the truth' in Christianity than the Orthodox?

Indeed, what would it take for these people JUST TO HAVE AN OPEN MIND ABOUT THE EVIDENCE THAT ALREADY EXISTS OUT THERE.

The real problem for them of course is that Hadrian's letter, quoted in one of our best sources for information about the rule of this Emperor - the Historia Augusta - cannot be argued to be a deliberately hostile witness to Christianity. Indeed a careful reading of the CONTEXT of the letter reveals something that previous generations of scholars hadn't even noticed before.

The actual context for the citation of the letter was to demonstrate that Hadrian wanted to shelter one of his generals, Iulius Saturninus Augustus, from the 'religious excesses' of the Egypt....

Yes, it is very interesting that Christian scholars are so quick to shout "forgery" about everything except the canonical texts.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Acharya wrote:
Hadrian in a letter discussing the Alexandrian Jews and Christians (likely "Chrestians") worshipping the hybrid god Serapis.


Here is a commentary I recently saw on this claim: "The "letter" is part of a late 4th century fiction, "Augustan History," now widely regard as fictitious, and containing so many 4th century anachronisms that it can be accurately dated to 395 CE plus or minus 5 years. The letter itself is full of anachronisms. Hadrian was only in Egypt in 130 CE, and the letter mentions his adopted son Lucius Aelius, who Hadrian did not adopt until 136. Hadrian also salutes his brother-in-law Servianus as consul, but Servianus did not serve as consul until 134 CE. The letter also mentions the Patriarch of Jewry within the Empire, a position that did not even exist until after Hadrian put down the Jewish Revolt in 132 CE. Its target is most likely the Patriarch Gamaliel VI, the last Nasi of the Sanhedrin who took office about 400 CE and was widely despised by the Romans. After his death, the position of Jewish Patriarch was eliminated by Roman decree. This larger text is known for its many fictitious "official documents" and "official letters." The letter from Hadrian is a poor forgery."

I should add that, as concerns the Orpheus-Bakkikos amulet, GA covered that well - the only thing I would add is that the artifact was supposedly destroyed during the First World War, if I'm not mistaken. In such cases, previous, older scholarship becomes vital, not "outdated."

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:45 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2127
Here's the link to the hard copy - just in time for Easter, what a surprise!

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]
by Bart Ehrman

Code:
http://www.amazon.com/Did-Jesus-Exist-Historical-Argument/dp/0062204602/truthbeknownfoun

Undoubtedly, Ehrman will go on the author tour, which will bring more attention to this subject of Jesus mythicism. How many people will say, "I didn't even know this debate existed?" Well, you do now!

And if you want the facts regarding this endeavor, you'll surely want to come here, as we will be critically digesting this material, as we already have been.

Image

Quote:
Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure—far removed from any credible historical evidence—that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?

In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.

First of all, it's great to know that "large numbers" of thinking people are questioning this supernatural fairytale. Secondly, no one is claiming that Jesus Christ was "invented out of whole cloth," so that's an absurd strawman. To make such a claim reflects that Ehrman did not even study the subject of Jesus mythicism in any depth - and that egregious oversight means he is not an expert on the subject at all. Such a remark indicates the writer has no idea how religions are created, no clue as to how all the OTHER umpteen gods and goddesses of the ancient world were devised. In short, that one comment reveals an utter lack of understanding of mythology - and that is a major problem with New Testament scholars: They simply do not have the context and do not know what they are looking at. They don't seem even to have studied the basics of mythology, as presented by the late great Joseph Campbell.

In Buddhist scholar Dr. Michael Lockwood's Buddhism's Relation to Christianity, there appears an increasingly loud cry from Buddhist scholars, for example - especially those in Europe and India - that their voices are being ignored in the field of New Testament studies, even though there is a large body of research to show that the gospels incorporated a huge amount of Buddhism, even to the point of copying two important Buddhist texts, which I will be discussing - and publishing. My lengthy review of Lockwood's book should be available at the end of the month.

Quote:
The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.

Sorry, but your infallible dictum and (likely) typical Christian-apologist "evidence" - i.e., Josephus, Pliny, Suetonius and Tacitus - will not suffice to convince us that the patently composite character in the New Testament is anything but fictional.

What we are contending is that the figure of "Jesus Christ" in the New Testament is a composite of motifs from pre-Christian religions and mythologies, combined with Old Testament "messianic prophecies" used as a blueprint and "wisdom sayings" that were being passed around for centuries before Christ's purported advent. These contentions have been demonstrated in thousands of books and articles dating back centuries into the most modern era, so if Ehrman and other such scholars haven't studied these voluminous texts - an endeavor that takes many years - again, he/they are no experts on the subject of Jesus mythicism.

To put it simply, a composite of 20 "people" - whether historical or fictional - is no one.

After the mythical and OT scriptural blueprint layers are removed, there's no "historical" core to the onion. The NT figure with the mythical layers and scriptural blueprints attached is blatantly a mythical/fictional character, and no amount of hand-waving dismissals and special pleading will change that fact.

The Jesus you discover will undoubtedly be a projection of the author's psyche, as have so many other "historical" Jesus books. As professor of Judaic and Religion Studies at Brown University Dr. Shaye Cohen remarks:

Quote:
Modern scholars have routinely reinvented Jesus or have routinely rediscovered in Jesus that which they want to find...

The actual scientific evidence demonstrates that the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional, composite character, and he did not exist as a literal figure, whether we like it or not.

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:57 am 
Offline
Jesus

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:42 pm
Posts: 15
Ehrman says: "Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.

Why did he say this?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:53 pm 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:45 am
Posts: 554
Lawofcausality wrote:
Ehrman says: "Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.

Why did he say this?


Well, he has answered that himself on multiple occasions. In particular, as I recall from his interview on the Infidel Guy show,


the reason why he did say this is because he allegedly knows every major scholar in his field and none of them doubt that Jesus historically existed (i.e., appeal to authority), which in turn, when pressed on the issue for evidence, he said is because no scholar he knows of doubts the authenticity of Galatians, which mentions James as the brother of Jesus, and does so in an "off-the-cuff" manner.

And of course, the old go-to fallacy of treating the evidence for Julius Caesar as being as sparse as the "evidence" for Jesus.
When we discover things dating to Jesus's own lifetime such as coins with his profile on them, statues of him, and inscriptions concerning him, texts he authored himself, etc. (all of which we most definitely DO have for Julius), then I'll be willing to give that old excuse the time of day.

Anyway, so, as already addressed in the James Ossuary thread, I guess Ehrman possibly believes in a historical Zeus as well.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:57 pm 
Offline
Jesus

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:42 pm
Posts: 15
After what Ehrman said,
Acharya S should have a public debate with
Dr. Bart Ehrman and settle the score.
What do you say Acharya?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:11 pm 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:45 am
Posts: 554
The trailer for the book. (Facepalm @00:00-00:15, with Socrates being a possible exception. Him I could possibly place on around the same level of historicity as Jesus.)




@00:45-00:52 Yep, but NOT true for Julius Caesar, for whom we do have superior historical evidence dating to his own lifetime.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:00 pm 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:17 pm
Posts: 2284
Location: Everywhere
Well if the video is a reflection of the route he takes through the entire book, then this book looks to be easily refuted...

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:19 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:41 pm
Posts: 819
Lawofcausality wrote:
After what Ehrman said,
Acharya S should have a public debate with
Dr. Bart Ehrman and settle the score.
What do you say Acharya?


Hi LOC. Looking at recent debates with Richard Carrier, there seems to be a concerted campaign by some rather thuggish types to intimidate anyone who expresses any willingness to engage seriously with Acharya. I doubt if Ehrmann would have the guts to stand up to these bullies.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:46 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2127
Here we go! Dr. Bart Ehrman has a new article in HuffPo to promote his book, Did Jesus Exist? Should sell a few copies.

I have to thank him for bringing this issue to a wider audience - now millions more people know that there are "large numbers" of skeptics calling into question the implausible and absurd tales of the New Testament.

Over and over again, Ehrman has framed the debate incorrectly. Even the title of his book is the wrong question. The question is: "Is the figure of 'Jesus Christ' in the New Testament a fictional composite of characters, some historical and some mythical, combined with 'messianic scriptures' from the Old Testament?" If we follow the actual evidence, the answer to that question becomes a resounding yes.

Holocaust Denial and Obama-is-a-Muslim conspiracy theories!

Ehrman starts off right away introducing Holocaust Denial! Then he immediately brings in the Obama=Muslim "conspiracy theory." Is a guilt-by-association fallacy the best he can do?

Quote:
In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world -- the Christian church -- was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today -- is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?

The man has no shame.

Entire cultures have been built on myths

Ehrman tries to make it seem ridiculous to suspect that "Jesus Christ" could be as mythical as Hercules or Osiris. Millions of Egyptians built an entire culture around Osiris and his numerous pals - do you really believe Osiris and Isis weren't real people?! :shock: How could it be?! Entire cultures built on myths? Such as the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and countless others - it's just so shocking!!

Yes, entire huge cultures have been built on mythical figures - ever heard of India? Or do you believe that Ganesha the elephant-headed god and Hanuman the monkey god were real people too? They have temples all over India, and their worship dates back thousands of years. Must have been real people.

Image
Real person or myth?

Credentialism?

Next, Erhman appeals to - ta da! - credentialism. Yes, you read that right - he's actually playing that card.

Quote:
Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds -- thousands? -- of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.

In reality, I was trained in a number of relevant fields, including ancient history, archaeology, Greek language and mythology, Latin and other disciplines. I was also raised a Protestant Christian, and I became a born-again Christian in my 20s, so I know the Bible fairly well. I also read ancient languages, including the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible, which I study on a regular basis, in its original languages.

Does Ehrman read Sanskrit or Pali? Buddhist scholars - many of them with PhDs! - insist that New Testament scholars will need to read these Indian languages if they are serious about Christian origins. Ehrman miscounted the mythicist PhDs, because he really does not know the field as well as he is depicting.

Moreover, most universities and colleges in the U.S. of any real age, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, etc., were begun as Christian institutions. It is not surprising that they have kept closed ranks for these many years. It is peculiar that someone from Ehrman's background and in consideration of his treatment for his "radical" views would not comprehend this fact of bias in American universities and colleges. I've had not a few seminary students, MDivs, PhDs, DDs, Jesuits or other religiously affiliated individuals tell me they are closet mythicists who are afraid to come out, so to speak. Some are afraid for their lives! I kid you not! When I first started posting my writings online in 1995, many people asked me if I wasn't afraid for my life from crazed fanatics. Things seems to have calmed down somewhat since the Inquisition, but let's not be disingenuous about the bias, bigotry and bullying to accept Christianity on its face - even Ehrman's been subjected to such abuse for his views.

Mythicists do not denounce all religion

Ehrman also tries his hand at psychoanalysis, making fallacious generalizations about mythicists:

Quote:
Why then is the mythicist movement growing, with advocates so confident of their views and vocal -- even articulate -- in their denunciation of the radical idea that Jesus actually existed? It is, in no small part, because these deniers of Jesus are at the same time denouncers of religion -- a breed of human now very much in vogue. And what better way to malign the religious views of the vast majority of religious persons in the western world, which remains, despite everything, overwhelmingly Christian, than to claim that the historical founder of their religion was in fact the figment of his followers' imagination?

From my impression, many if not most of the mythicists who have read my work do not necessarily consider themselves atheists or anti-religion. On the contrary, many of us are extremely fascinated by religion, and we study religious ideas dating back thousands of years - that's how we know we are looking at rehashed myths! Some mythicists even attend church still, although they see the stories as allegorical and archetypical. There's really nothing to get hysterical about over such a perspective.

Do you believe in the Hindu gods and goddesses? Shiva? Krishna? Ganesha? Hanuman? Laxmi? There are hundreds of gods and goddesses in other cultures - are you denouncing all religion by not accepting them as historical figures? Are you saying these gods are figments of their followers' imaginations?

'Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day'

Quoting Ehrman:

Quote:
It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

Thank you for admitting that the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is not recorded anywhere in any writing of the day!

But, as for this shallow dismissal of the historical record, New Testament scholar Ehrman appears not to know that in the Bible there are some two dozen scriptures in which Christ is purported to have been famed far and wide:

Quote:
Matthew 4:23-25, 5:1, 8:1, 8:18, 9:8, 9:31, 9:33, 9:36, 11:7, 12:15, 13:2, 14:1, 14:13, 14:22, 15:30, 19:2, 21:9, 26:55; Mark 1:28, 10:1; Luke: 4:14, 4:37, 5:15, 14:25, etc.

Judea of the first century was a small place, well trafficked and populous, with rich and powerful folks like the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexander writing extensively about his beloved religion, culture and homeland. Yet, for some reason, Philo managed to miss this famed healer, miracleworker, son of God and Jewish messiah who was doing many marvelous works! Philo had written extensively about the "Logos" idea, nearly the same as what we find in John's gospel concerning Jesus - but he failed utterly to notice that his Logos had taken incarnation during his very lifetime, in his ancestral land only 200 miles as the crow flies from his home in Alexandria! How do we account for this silence?

Jesus's status as a wandering miracleworker and son of God who was born of a virgin, cured the blind, raised the dead, miraculously fed 5,000 people, spoke before mystified multitudes, transfigured on a mount, raised himself from the dead and flew off into heaven is hardly comparable to Josephus and Pilate. Moreover, we have actual writings from Josephus, tending to confirm his existence. Furthermore, the world's salvation does not depend on Josephus and Pilate, so the question of their existence is not particularly important. Nor have their names and roles become dominant in history at the great expense of countless cultures and the sacrifice of tens to millions of human lives, as has been the case with "Jesus Christ."

What 'sources lying behind the Gospels?'

Next, Ehrman presumes Jesus is a historical figure and that he was running around speaking Aramaic - therefore, he must have existed! Just a tad circular.

Quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus' life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus' closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

Where are the "numerous, independent accounts of his life in sources lying behind the Gospels," "sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue?" Is he referring to the Syriac gospels? Are these the "underlying sources" of the canonical gospels, even though they evidently date to the end of the second century at the earliest?

What are these "sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life" which no one else seems to know about? All these years many fanatical Christian apologists and others have challenged my work, yet not one has made such a claim. Did Ehrman just find a bunch of new "sources lying behind the Gospels?" Are they to be included in his book? What earth-shattering news that would be! Just in time for Easter! As one commenter says, "Bart Ehrman: Sales rep for the Christian Industry."

James the Brother of the Lord

The James argument is nonsensical. In the first place, nowhere in the New Testament is James called the "brother of Jesus the Christ," "brother of Jesus" or "brother of Christ." Only in Galatians (1:19) is he called "brother of the Lord." There's a difference.

Quote:
ἕτερον δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον εἰ μὴ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου

The Greek word for "Lord" is κύριος, which Strong's (G2962) defines as:

Quote:
1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah

"The Lord" could thus be any number of figures, including GOD. The very first usages of the word κύριος in the New Testament refer to God.

Moreover, the Greek word κύριος can be found in ancient pre-Christian literature, including in Thucydides, Euripides, Aristotle and others.

There have been many "brothers of the Lord," or, at least "brothers in the Lord," as this designation could simply be applied to someone in the same religious community. Indeed, it was applied to Christians who were certainly not the blood relatives of Jesus. As we read at Philippians 1:14:

Quote:
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

"Brethren in the Lord" here in Greek is τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐν κυρίῳ, essentially the same phrase as in Galatians. Are all of these "many brothers in the Lord" blood relatives of Jesus Christ? Or does not this phrase refer to the congregation of believers?

It may be argued that it is debatable whether or not "brother of the Lord" is equivalent to "brother in the Lord." However, it should be recalled that the word "brother" does not necessarily apply to a blood relative, especially in the New Testament, as at Act 9:17:

Quote:
So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Strong's (G80) defines the Greek word for "brother," ἀδελφός, as:

Quote:
1) a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother

2) having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman

3) any fellow or man

4) a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection

5) an associate in employment or office

6) brethren in Christ

a) his brothers by blood

b) all men

c) apostles

d) Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place

As we can see, the word "brother" has many meanings apart from a blood relative. All the apostles were "brothers in the Lord" if not "of the Lord."

Even if this scripture concerning "James the brother of the Lord" were 'genuinely" reflecting an intended blood relationship, it could have been inserted to give an appearance of historicity.

Most parallels a product of 'modern imagination?'

Next we discover that Dr. Ehrman knows little to nothing about the mythicist case and ancient mythology - which is exactly what we expected. He's perused some Christian apologist tracts, apparently - that's everything he needs to know. He hasn't bothered studying the massive amount of literature over the past couple of hundreds years that shows these parallels are quite real and genuinely from antiquity.

Quote:
Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the "pagan" savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).

Here are pages and pages of actual parallels from antiquity that Ehrman has apparently missed in his exhaustive study of the subject:

Christ Myth Articles

Instead of actually studying this mythology, Ehrman expresses becoming nauseated at the thought. Such a reaction does not inspire confidence in his knowledge of the subjects of comparative religion and mythology.

Crucifixion precedents

Ehrman follows with yet another fallacious argument:

Quote:
Moreover, aspects of the Jesus story simply would not have been invented by anyone wanting to make up a new Savior. The earliest followers of Jesus declared that he was a crucified messiah. But prior to Christianity, there were no Jews at all, of any kind whatsoever, who thought that there would be a future crucified messiah. The messiah was to be a figure of grandeur and power who overthrew the enemy. Anyone who wanted to make up a messiah would make him like that. Why did the Christians not do so? Because they believed specifically that Jesus was the Messiah. And they knew full well that he was crucified. The Christians did not invent Jesus. They invented the idea that the messiah had to be crucified.

No one is saying that aspects of the story were "simply" invented by anyone, so that's a strawman. What we do claim is that this motif of a god on a cross is pre-Christian and that it was included in the mix for the same reason so many other gods had attributes added to them as they became syncretized. Such activity is basic mythology and religion-creation 101.

Moreover, we actually do have Jewish precedent for Christ's passion, including a "crucifixion" of sorts, in the Old Testament (h/t R. Tulip), specifically at Isaiah 53:3-10:

Quote:
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed....

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin...

In this pericope about the "Man of Sorrows," we can see several motifs that made it into the New Testament, as the innocent lamb wounded for our transgressions and killed as a sin offering. In my opinion, these passages essentially prove that the Old Testament was used as a blueprint for the New: To wit, the "messianic prophecies" were strung together in order to write parts of the NT, like this one in particular.

As but one example of how a messianic scripture was used in the creation of the gospel story, "he opened not his mouth" explains why in the gospel story Jesus says nothing when he is brought before Pilate (Mk 15:3-5).

"...they made his grave...with a rich man in his death" has been changed to the story of the rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, taking charge of Jesus's body.

This "man of sorrows" is obviously a ritual scapegoat, stories about which we also read in the Old Testament. So common was this human-sacrifice ritual, apparently, that here we find it immortalized as a godly act. This fact also explains the creation of Christianity and the focus on his sin-bearing sacrifice.

The 22nd Psalm was also evidently used in this blueprint, presenting the piteous complaints of a suffering man whose hands and feet have been pierced:

Quote:
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

I may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me.

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

This last part was reproduced in the story of the Roman soldiers at the foot of Jesus's cross casting lots for his garments. (John 19:23-24)

In any event, Ehrman's inadequate arguments are followed by an imperial dictum: "Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed." Basically what I'm reading here is, "I have no real evidence, so I'll engage in every ad hom and assorted other logical fallacy I can muster."

If Ehrman had actually studied the mythicist case, he would have seen that many if not most of his arguments have already been addressed, long ago, in fact.

Quote:
Bart D. Ehrman: Did Jesus Exist?

In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world -- the Christian church -- was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today -- is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?

That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds -- thousands? -- of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.

Why then is the mythicist movement growing, with advocates so confident of their views and vocal -- even articulate -- in their denunciation of the radical idea that Jesus actually existed? It is, in no small part, because these deniers of Jesus are at the same time denouncers of religion -- a breed of human now very much in vogue. And what better way to malign the religious views of the vast majority of religious persons in the western world, which remains, despite everything, overwhelmingly Christian, than to claim that the historical founder of their religion was in fact the figment of his followers' imagination?

The view, however, founders on its own premises. The reality -- sad or salutary -- is that Jesus was real. And that is the subject of my new book, "Did Jesus Exist?"

It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

It is also true that our best sources about Jesus, the early Gospels, are riddled with problems. These were written decades after Jesus' life by biased authors who are at odds with one another on details up and down the line. But historians can never dismiss sources simply because they are biased. You may not trust Rush Limbaugh's views of Sandra Fluke, but he certainly provides evidence that she exists.

The question is not whether sources are biased but whether biased sources can be used to yield historically reliable information, once their biased chaff is separated from the historical kernel. And historians have devised ways of doing just that.

With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus' life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus' closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the "pagan" savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).

Moreover, aspects of the Jesus story simply would not have been invented by anyone wanting to make up a new Savior. The earliest followers of Jesus declared that he was a crucified messiah. But prior to Christianity, there were no Jews at all, of any kind whatsoever, who thought that there would be a future crucified messiah. The messiah was to be a figure of grandeur and power who overthrew the enemy. Anyone who wanted to make up a messiah would make him like that. Why did the Christians not do so? Because they believed specifically that Jesus was the Messiah. And they knew full well that he was crucified. The Christians did not invent Jesus. They invented the idea that the messiah had to be crucified.

One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our modern and post-modern cultural despisers of established religion (or not). But surely the best way to promote any such agenda is not to deny what virtually every sane historian on the planet -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, atheist, what have you -- has come to conclude based on a range of compelling historical evidence.

Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.

The actual scientific evidence demonstrates that the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional, composite character, and he did not exist as a literal figure, whether we like it or not.


_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 400 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ... 27  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Truth Be Known | Stellar House Publishing
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Live Support